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U.S. Senate Debate Draws Distinctions
By Xavier Higgs, Contributing Writer
Published October 6, 2016
U.S. Senate candidates Calif. Attorney Kamala Harris (Left) and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (Right) sound off during a live debate at Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs held on on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles (Photo by Mesiyah McGinnis for Sentinel)

U.S. Senate candidates Calif. Attorney Kamala Harris (Left) and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (Right) sound off during a live debate at Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs held on on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles (Photo by Mesiyah McGinnis for Sentinel)

Attacks, counter-attacks and trenchant rhetoric were the game plan for California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez during Wednesday night’s one and only Senate debate.

Both quarreled over comprehensive immigration, curtailing global terrorism to legalizing marijuana, to supporting or opposing Prop. 57, the Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Sanchez accused Harris of taking money from Trump “to fly in first class and stay in first class hotels” rather than aggressively pursuing legal action against Trump University. Harris attacked Sanchez’s attendance record in congress, “you may have lots of stamps on your passport but you have not showed up once to an anti-terrorism task force meeting.”

The evening was not without it’s lighter moment. While running over her allotted time, the Orange County congresswoman engage in a little dabbin’, her affirmation to popular culture.

A perplexed Atty. General Harris responded, “So, there’s a clear difference between the candidates in this race.”

Harris’ responses were crafty and measured amidst sharp criticism from her opponent.

Sanchez’s theatrics were often distracting and not subtle. Including her off-the-cuff style, interrupting Harris and defied the moderator’s attempts to keep her answers within the allotted time.

Both were asked how they would resolve the contradiction between state and federal laws if California voters approve Prop 64, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative Statute.

Harris says voters will pass the initiative and asserting that State laws must change the mandatory sentencing laws. She also admits “the war on drugs has been a failure.”

“Some people talk about doing things, we actually do things in my district,” says Sanchez. “I’ve been fighting in congress to get marijuana off the Schedule 1 sentencing.”

Harris, who is considered the front-runner, has capturing the support of Gov. Jerry Brown, the California Democratic Party, President Barack Obama and Thursday, U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez were invited to a debate on Sept. 20 however the two Democratic Senate candidates failed to reach agreement so it was scrapped.

During the primary, five candidates met on a stage for two debates.

 

On June 7 Harris finished first with 39.9% of the votes, and Sanchez came in second with 18.9%.

This set up the first-ever statewide matchup between two members of the same party.

Harris and long-serving Rep. Sanchez — both are women of color and daughters of immigrants, Mexico in Sanchez’s case and from Jamaica and India in Harris’.

Their presence would be special: In the precious chamber they seek to inhabit, there is currently one woman of color in the entire Senate, Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono, an Asian-American. There has only been one black woman senator. There has never been a Latina senator.

 

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